Desperate Crimes, Bill Travis #11-Chapter One

Posted: November 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

Desperate Crimes


There are no do-overs. Once the dice are thrown there’s no retracing the trajectory, no way of altering the arc or the force with which they’re thrown—or, to use a golf analogy, there are no mulligans. When they come to rest, the pips showing are set in concrete, graven in stone, and The Fates have made their decree.

But then there’s Todd Landry, a guy who never knew the rules and so didn’t bother to pay any attention to them.

Todd gives my oldest natural daughter, Jennifer, piano lessons. Or rather, he used to, up until the day he disappeared from the Earth.

“But I like him, Daddy,” Jennifer said. We were in our back yard raking compost into the fence-high pile.

“I know you do, sweetheart. Are you still giving the recital next Saturday?”

“Not without Toddy,” she said. Jennifer is eight years old, and she’s sharp as a whip for eight. “Daddy, this pile of stuff stinks.”

“It’s supposed to,” I said. “It’s compost. Mom needs it to grow her tomatoes.”

“I’ll never eat tomatoes again if they grow in this stuff.”

“Wise,” I whispered under my breath. I knew firsthand the contents of the pile.

“What about it?” she asked me.

“What about what?” I stopped and leaned against the rake, swept the sweat off of my forehead with a rolled-up sleeve.

“I want you to find him for me,” she said.

“Jen, Daddy is not the Police Department. I work and bring home money to pay for piano lessons. Your older sister, however, is a member of the Sheriff’s Department. Maybe she can find him for you.”

I got a frown and pursed lips from that.

“You never do anything,” she said, and turned to stalk off.

I found myself lurching forward. I grasped her shoulder and she stopped and turned around.

“Did Mr. Landry tell you it was okay to call him Toddy?” I asked.

“I called him that from the first day, I think,” she said. “He never said I couldn’t.”

“Okay. Okay. And he never called you or Mom back this whole week? You guys made a lot of phone calls, if I recall.”

“No,” she said. Then, suddenly, she burst into tears. Between her sobs I barely made out the words, “We even went to his house again and again.”

“Oh, come here, honey. It’s okay.” Jennifer threw her arms around me and squeezed me tight. The tears were real, and there were a lot of them. “Look, maybe he had to go out of town. Maybe somebody got sick or something. It could be one of a hundred things.”

“No, daddy. It’s something bad. I know it. He would have called me.”

She looked into my face with pleading, tear-strewn eyes.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “I suppose he would have. Let’s go in the house and see if we can make some phone calls and find him. It’s a Saturday afternoon, and I’d rather do that than make compost.”

She nodded slowly. “Thank you, daddy.”

Innocently enough, that’s how it all started. With little girl tears drying on my neck, and a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach that I could not explain. Unfortunately, those feelings are usually right on the money.

  1. Great beginning. I’m hooked.

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